Oh, my goodness. How time really does fly. My favourite part of the end of the year, besides Christmas (obviously), is looking back on my year and realising how fast it has gone by. Every year in January or February, I sit and think about how slow the year is starting off and that I will have plenty of time to complete everything. But, before I know it, the months are whizzing by, and I’m setting up my Christmas tree before half my list of things I wanted to do in the year are done. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.
2019 is drawing to a close, and that means not only the end of another year but also the end of the decade. I’m not sure about you, but that makes me feel old … and I’m only nineteen. So much has happened around the world this year and it’s been a roller coaster of experiences for me, and so I thought a nice thing to do would be to take two seconds and reflect back on the year. Until now I don’t think I really gaged the real value of reflecting but now that I am older and wiser (I can practically hear my friends laughing at me as I write this), I think that reflecting back on your past experiences is not only beneficial for learning purposes but also for mental reasons. We forget how much we accomplish over a year and sometimes it feels good to acknowledge all of the fantastic things we have done and experienced. So without further ado, let’s dive back in time and take a gaze back on the whirlwind of a year that has been 2019.
I spy a black hole
I’m not one for astrophysics, and I have never been much of a NASA fangirl, but I don’t think anyone could not be overwhelmed by the phenomenal news that scientists have captured the first image of a black hole. Before this year, what a black hole looked like was an inconceivable thought. Then April turned up, and we got our first look at one of the most mysterious marvels in the universe. What a year for astrophysics, right?
Incendie à Notre Dame!
Pardon my french outburst, but in case anyone missed it … THE NOTRE-DAME WAS ON FIRE! On the 15th of April, I think the entire world was gobsmacked as we witnessed the beautiful Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France engulfed in flames. Thankfully, most of the interior wasn’t damaged too catastrophically, but the spire and most of the roof of this 850-year-old beauty were destroyed. It’s sad to think how quickly something so beautiful was damaged, and how long it will take hopefully to restore it.
The end of a lot
For all of those fans of different series and franchises, this has been quite a depressing year as so many long-loved stories draw to a close. We first saw the end of the Infinity Saga and most of what we know in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the iconic Avengers Endgame. Being a Marvel fan myself, it was truly a fantastic way to end a more than 20 film story, but it didn’t come without a substantial purchase of tissues and chocolate. At least it got the glory it deserved, knocking the long-standing Avatar off the throne for box office record. The next ending was with the Game of Throne series, although from what I hear, it was more of a disappointment than a dignified exit. And last but not least, the end of the Skywalker saga with The Rise of Skywalker just hitting cinemas. Although they at least left the world with baby Yoda (even being a minimalist Star Wars fan, who can deny baby Yoda’s adorableness?)
More Fire … in the rainforest
Didn’t we already have enough fire disaster with Notre-Dame? Evidently not. The lungs of the earth, the home of so many beloved and endangered creatures took a beating like never before this year. The Amazon rainforest burned solidly for weeks. Now if that isn’t heartbreaking, I don’t know what is.
Climate Change awareness
Thankfully for the rainforest, a new influential voice rose to the stand this year. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, gave a chilling and compelling speech at the U.N. at the Climate Action Summit. Since then, she has maintained her place in the world’s spotlight in terms of raising awareness for Climate Change and has even been named TIME’s Person of the year (the youngest in history). Now that is outstanding beyond words!
In 2013, the world fell in love with two sisters, a lovable talking snowman and the song ‘Let it Go!’. Since then, Frozen has grown larger than life and still remains a top favourite of the Disney films. Now, we’ve been gifted with a continuation of the much-loved story in the thrilling sequel Frozen 2. I’m not going to lie that I was incredibly nervous waiting to watch this film, but once I left the cinema, I had no doubt. It was an incredibly good sequel and a great way to continue the much-loved story. By the way, I call dibs on having Olaf on my team for charades!
Friends turns 25
Last but not least, how could I forget my favourite series? The series that ran for ten years and ended in 2004 turns 25 this year, and as such, there has been a surge in Friends merchandise everywhere (which I have blissfully been taking full advantage of). Not only did I get to see the Friends Apartment and other filming locations during my New York trip, but Jennifer Aniston also finally joined Instagram. Her debut photograph was a selfie with the rest of the Friends group, and she actually set a new world record with her photo being the fastest to reach 1 million followers.
This has been an exciting year for me. I didn’t follow the metaphorical herd to university, and instead, much to my own shock and horror embarked on a highly influential gap year. My year has included travelling and studying at both Oxford and Stanford University. I have gained new skills and experiences, had challenging jobs and now am ending on a high note with my family in the tropics. What more could a girl ask for? Instead of nattering on and summarising my year, I found a selection of reflection questions that I thought I’d answer here instead. Maybe this will be even better than summarising?
What was the best thing that happened to you in 2019?
Not going to university. By deciding to prolong my entry to Uni, I got to experience so much more of life. I got to study at two iconic universities and learn so much more about myself than I think I would have at university. I’ve also gained a much fresher perspective on so many things, and my travels and experiences have really opened my eyes, all of which would never have happened if I went to university.
What was the most challenging thing that happened to you this year?
Being away from home. While the short courses I did were fantastic, it was still hard being overseas for that long. I missed my family, my boyfriend and even the simple things like driving to the grocery store or watching movies in my pj’s with my cat. I was isolated, but I’m still glad I did it because it was a gentle easing into what my university years will be like, and now I know I’ ready for them.
What were the best books you read this year?
I didn’t read enough this year at all. But, my best reads were Supernova by Marissa Meyer (the end in her trilogy); Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and the Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain.
Did you experience anything life-changing this year?
I would say that my short courses were life-changing, but I think that would be cheating seeing as though I’ve already used them on this list. So, I think that something life-changing I experienced was my car accident. It was a huge shock and really freaked me out, but the plus side is that my boyfriend and I came out of it okay and I have come to appreciate the small things and the people in my life that much more.
What was your favourite place you visited?
The Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros Studio. I travelled to some amazing places this year, but none of them can top how amazing it was to walk into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Except maybe meeting Emma Watson. That could beat out the Warner Bros studio tour.
What was your common mental state over the year?
I think that would have to be a never-ending mix of excitement and anxiety. My enthusiasm to try out all of these things this year and gain a new perspective on life kept me going, but I was always anxious that things wouldn’t work out well or something would go wrong. But I guess that’s my common mental state usually. Excited and anxious.
Was there anything you did for the very first time this year?
Punting would be the first thing (which is both fun and terrifying), and then I also did an Escape Room for the first time. I don’t know how I haven’t done them before because I absolutely loved it! I also did yoga for the first time (courtesy of my now great friend Lily – thank you) which was surprisingly fun and challenging.
What was the most important lesson you learnt this year?
I think the greatest lessons I learned this year was to be grateful for everything you have and also how vital genuine friendships are. This year has been a lonely one but also one that came with a lot of changes, so the real friends that I made and stuck by me made a massive difference in my life. On the grateful note, I have always been thankful for the life I live and the incredible people in it, but I think you gain a new-found appreciation for those things when you spend so much time away from them, so those are the two big lessons I learnt this year.
What/who are you most thankful for?
Ugh, it’s impossible to name one thing or person really. I’m most thankful for my amazing family (particularly my parents) for being so supportive this year. I’m also incredibly grateful to my boyfriend for going above and beyond this year, especially considering we spent over half the year on opposite sides of the world. I’m also thankful for friends – I don’t think I could have managed this year without all these great people so if you are reading this now … Thank you, and I love you guys!
And so there you have it. This has been a crazy year for us all, but I hope that through all the ups and downs, you have all had a great year. What things are you reflecting on? What has been your favourite event in 2019? If there are any milestones or questions from above that you feel like answering and sharing, please feel free to do so in the comments section below. As always, thank you all so much for reading and enjoy the last few days of 2019!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx